If you’re in the market for a house, try not to jump the gun and sign the deed before doing a thorough inspection of the landscape. Big or small, it may happen that the property you’re buying will cost you more down the line than what you’re paying for it now. This is especially true if there is outdoor living space within the property lines. It is advisable that you confirm that everything in the yard will be suitable to your taste, lifestyle, and long-term goals for your next home.
Seek Your Realtor’s Advice on Inspections
Real estate buyers are within their rights to hire a home inspector to take a thorough look at the structural integrity of the house, as well as the condition of the property as a whole. Should your inspector find anything that will require special attention, this can be your deciding factor to not push through with the purchase or perhaps use the information to renegotiate the terms of the contract price. Any aspect that requires repairs may be the cost that can be taken out of the property price.
Your realtor may have recommendations as to what kinds of specialized inspectors you’d want to bring in. Heed your realtor’s advice as he or she would be more aware of the potential pitfalls of the property.
Inspect the Trees and Plants
It is important to hire a licensed arborist to conduct an inspection of the foliage in the property, especially if there are large trees. You’ll of course want to know if the trees are healthy and sound, particularly if they are looming over the structure in a potentially precarious way. Also, if what you want is a low-maintenance yard, you wouldn’t want many deciduous trees that will periodically shed their leaves all over your new property.
Fortunately, arborists can inspect the other plants as well, as the experienced arborists are able to identify several plant species. You’ll want to know about invasive, non-native plants that could be present, especially if the yard in the property has not been maintained optimally.
Be on the lookout for invasive plants such as oriental bittersweet that can end up crowding all other plants you do actually want to grow. Also, plants like rosa multiflora (or Japanese rose) can climb up trees and harm the tree itself by choking it, if not adding weight burden to the tree which may cause the tree to get easily knocked down during a big storm.
Make sure that the yard in the property is a place where your trusted gardener can work his magic once you own the place.
With the help of your home inspector, find out if the land drains properly and where the drained water goes. You should know if the area is prone to flooding or if the slope of the land is toward the foundation of the house as this might result in water leaking into the house with heavy rainfall.
Furthermore, you should find out if the water that drains from your property ends up in a neighbor’s property to avoid huge problems of conflict and cost down the line.
If the property is poised on a steep slope, it will be helpful to consult with soil or structural engineer to confirm that the structure is adequately supported.
Find out if the property shares a fence, driveway, or walkway with neighboring properties. If this is the case, it’s essential to find out who is responsible for maintenance and repairs, and if there’s a documented agreement. This averts any possibilities for community animosity in the future.
Learn about your property’s boundaries. In some locales, surveys are usually neglected whenever a property is sold or transferred. You should know about any encroachments or easements, especially if you have plans of building extensions or decks or any improvements. You would not want your additions to cross over to your neighbors’ properties.
Some properties may be part of a homeowners’ association. You should know this beforehand to make any future modifications to the house compliant to the community’s standards or regulations. Some homeowners associations may have existing decrees about parking, fence dimensions or material, or security protocols. Educate yourself about such community concerns to avoid any altercation or misunderstanding.
Before you sign on the dotted line, you must feel comfortable with everything on the property. Is the structure sound enough to withstand forces of nature? Are you able to live in harmony with the rest of the community? Does the garden complement the architecture and vice versa? Remember, you are not just buying a house, but you are investing in your family’s future.